Chapter XXIV

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(Do ignore, again, the image. Pandora wasn't even remotely close to smiling in this chapter.)

We were lucky that Draxen had summoned one of his creatures to fight, because we would have been killed the moment we fell. Now, it was a bull-like shadow with wolf claws. The creatures had been changing lately, but hardly I had noticed that until then.

"Come here!" Draxen screamed from behind us while the feline creature he had been accompanied with fought the shadow and took it out of the house.

It was only me who went to him. Pandora remained right where she had fallen into, looking at the scene, completely paralyzed. It scared me, because I knew what would happen next.

"Come here," I took Gail and Wiese by the hands and guided them to a corner where they wouldn't see anything. "Don't open your eyes, no matter what you hear, okay? No excuses, no buts and no lies. Trust me, Pandora is never going to harm you, but you have hardly seen her powers as I've done." I spoke in a rush, hoping they will completely understand me.

Wiese was scared and Gail had a strange look on her face, but both children had taken each other's hand and nodded when I was done talking. I kiss them in the foreheads and went to prevent Draxen.

By then, Pandora was surrounded by different runes, runes that looked way much different than her usual ones, and she walked right to the shadow. Dear heaven, let us have enough time. "Draxen! Here!" I shouted running to take his hand. He wouldn't want to be anywhere near to my friend.

"STOOOOOOP!" Pandora shouted. I had just enough time to take Draxen by the hand and force him to crouch.

The whole place shivered when she threw one her runes to the creature, still fighting the feline being summoned by Draxen. Barely daring to look, I saw the shadow trembling in the ground and Pandora walking towards it. "Don't you dare do anything at all," I said to Draxen, who was right beside me.

"What happened?" He asked, confused.

"Pandora is far done with the shadows and will send a message."

"What? To whom?!" He looked at me astonished.

"The others and possible even the Tenth." Then we heard an inhuman scream. I looked again, only to see Pandora in front of the creature and one of its paws floating in the air. The blood covered the whole place and the shadow was trying to escape.

"No way!" Pandora threw another rune, freezing the creature in its place. "Do you think you can come here, do whatever you want and as soon as things get ugly for you there's any right to escape as the piece of garbage you are? Do you think I will let you go just like that?"

As she spoke, the energy surrounding Pandora became visible, like liquid streams, prepared to act as soon as she moved a single finger, did a simple gesture. It was as if she had an army of snakes to follow her will. The idea was enough to send chills down my spine.

"I've had enough with you and your kind. This can be your own world, your land, your rules, but I swear that the next time I see any of you I will make sure you know there are fates a thousand times worse than death. Now get out of my sight!"

Right after that, the rest of the runs went right to the shadow, getting burned in its skin, and while it was still screaming, she sent it as far as she could with a movement of her arms, collapsing several trees in the process, and falling to the ground.

Something cracked in me when I saw her there, and I ran to where she was at once. I took her in my arms and wished that I could sense her pulse, that there was a way to know if she was still alive. The book, that had always been floating around her since she finished reading it, was also on the ground. That gave me an idea.

"I am no witch, I am no bender of the magic powers, I am no one but a person bonded with the witch that owns you," I said to the book, "and it is as such, as a mere human, that I ask you to show me the simplest and safest spell to know if Pandora Tenebris, the harmed witch that rests beside me and that owns you, is still alive." The pages moved on their own, flipping as if someone was doing it for me, until they showed me an almost blank page.

"Alynn ..." I ignored Wiese's voice. I knew I would have to explain later.

Keeping my mind in the spell, I took Pandora's right hand and spoke. "This mortal heart of mine asks and demands, to know if your beats still it wants," I read aloud.

Soon, everything around me became black, cold, in a space almost not enough for me to inhabit, where my body hurt because of the lack of space; I felt dizzy, confused, scared ... But I could hear her heart beating.

The air escaped from my lungs and I gasped when I came back to my senses. I almost fell down, but to feel the ground under me, and the hand of Pandora, still with mine, gave me enough strength to keep my eyes open.

Then I felt the presence of Wiese right beside me. I knew they was talking to me and asking something, but the words didn't make that much sense to me in the moment. They were just mere, simple sounds, like a foreign language.

Slowly, I managed to understand some part. Draxen Summoning creatures, telling the others to help us, Wiese talking to me, telling me I had to react, Gail touching my hand... It was all very confusing.

Then my eyes saw Pandora, still unconscious, eyes closed, being carried into the cabin by a gigant cat with long ears, as if she were still sleeping. But she's alive, I thought. She's still alive, she's still with us, with me.

 She's still alive, she's still with us, with me

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